This is the era of content marketing. No one can ignore the importance of quality content anymore after Google has underlined it strongly with its apocalyptic updates in the recent years. Contrary to popular perception, these new developments have actually come as a boon to small businesses, new entrepreneurs and freelancers because it has provided them a level playing field where they can compete with the bigger corporations by simply creating quality content and even if they do not have the financial muscle to match them in scale. However, while we strive to create such long form, in depth, high quality content to engage our audience, we must also ask few questions to ourselves.
Are we making the most of the content we are producing?
Is there a way to make sure that more and more people discover our content?
Well, this is exactly where it might be a good idea to consider web widgets that can help us create certain small but very useful digital assets beyond pure content. Do note that this by no means suggest that content is not important. Such widgets can actually help you to get more out of your content.
Go viral with social share widgets
These are the most widely used widgets on websites all over the world. You must have seen those “like” or “recommend” on FB, “retweet”, “plus one” and other such social buttons under articles on various websites. Probably you are already using them but in case you are not, we suggest you do. The very idea behind these widgets is to make things easier for people to share. For instance, not everyone will take the effort to copy the URL and share it on their FB wall. But they can always like the post using these widgets and it will still show up on their news feeds and be visible to their contacts in real time. So, such widgets just enhance the possibility of getting shared on social networks. There are many good quality customizable widgets available for this purpose that can be used on any platform or CMS to immediately install these widgets.
Build fan base with social feeds
The other related type of widget is social feed. They draw live feed from your social networks and display them on your site, blog or some other online property. It helps by letting your website visitors know that you have an active social presence and also allows them to follow you. This enhances your fan base that benefits you in the future when you share new content in those channels. Facebook itself provides you the code for the “Like Box” that you can put up on your sites. Similarly you can find solutions for Twitter, Instagram and Flickr etc.
Retain visitors with content suggestions widgets
Another very creative way of engaging the visitors and making them consume more content is the suggest widget. Yes, it is as simple as that! The only trick is that you have to do it in a smart and elegant way. So, you can have content suggestion widgets that suggest relevant content that the audience may prefer. The simplest type of content suggestion widgets are normally displayed at the end of a page or an article. They suggest a handful of other articles on the same topic as the one at the top. For instance, if somebody is reading an article on SEO on a blog, it can be assumed that he is interested in this topic. So, the widget displays few other interesting articles on the same topic from the blog, thus attracting the attention of the reader and making them click on the suggested content and discover more. For instance you can use a tool like Zemanta to not only create such a widget but also measure its performance with detailed analytics.
Engage the audience in social activities with interactive widgets
Another interesting way to engage the audience is to offer them activities such as small quizzes and polls through widgets. These assets can also be used as branding tools by entrepreneurs. You have to create something interesting that your readers would like to invite their friends to participate in. Just remember to include your brand name somewhere in the widget so that it can spread along with the activity in question. Services such as SnapApp can help you create such applications rather easily.
Offer exclusive branding widgets to other publishers
There are many more advanced widgets that can be prepared as downloadable items given away to other publishers. For instance, you can have a badge or a form with your brand-name and share it with the bloggers. In return, you can offer some freebies or recognition to them. When they install the widgets on their own sites, you get a backlink to your site. Naturally, it leads to more traffic to your website and if you can come up with a really useful widget, it can potentially go viral. You can also consider running a mutually beneficial affiliate program with such widgets.
The various types of widgets mentioned above can be true digital assets for new entrepreneurs who lack the budget for expensive marketing campaigns. They can help your content get shared without any added cost and if you are creative enough, it can probably go viral and reach more people than even paid advertising campaigns.
About the author
Born in Los Angeles, Blair Strasser is a business and marketing enthusiast that enjoys sharing his knowledge through his writing. He is also Founder and CEO of eMerchantBroker and passionate about technology.